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Development of an observation system for profile soil moisture


An understanding of the variation in time and space of soil moisture is crucial for the modelling and management of Australian landscapes.  In terms of management, information on soil moisture could be used to decide whether there is enough soil moisture to grow a crop, or when and where to irrigate.  In terms of modelling, soil moisture is needed as inputs to crop growth, hydrological and hydrodynamic models.  Despite this need, there are no readily available estimates of soil moisture in time and space.  This project will directly tackle this issue by combining field observations, a water balance model and readily available geospatial data to develop an approach to predict soil moisture in time and space.


Associate Professor Thomas Bishop.

Research location

Sydney Institute of Agriculture - Australian Technology Park

Program type



The project will have a field and modelling component.  The field work will be based in the Muttama creek catchment in southern NSW where we are establishing a soil moisture monitoring network.  The aim of this project will be to predict soil moisture in the entire profile in space and time at resolutions of 250m and 7 days.  This will be achieved by modelling components of the soil water balance with geospatial data such as remotely-sensed imagery, and updating the model predictions of soil moisture as field observations become available. The student will gain valuable experience in soil field work and modelling.  In particular they will gain experience in state-of-the-art spatial modelling methods.

Additional information

The project requires potential students to apply for competitive scholarships

HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1817

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